Archive | December, 2013

Growing numbers training to be UK Parenting Group Facilitators mean an early start for Programme Manager Roseleen Fox

12 Dec

It is mid-week as I write and I am in a state of contented tiredness as I have not yet had a break following working through last week before going on the weekend residential for with the Passionate about Parenting programme for parent’s group facilitators training with Mothers’ Union. (My break comes tomorrow thankfully)!

For me this last course started very early (4am) on Friday 

morning, getting the train to Shropshire where Marian our trainer picked me up.  We arrived at the Christian conference centre set in remote and beautiful country side ready to journey with the group of learners.

Two of our group had arrived the evening before and gradually the others joined us ready to start the weekend’s activities. Beginning with worship and on through to the final prayer it was an absolute privilege to be involved in this work. To see the participants gaining so much from each other and from the material was a joy.

Activities is an apt term to describe the facilitators training as the course is packed with active learning to enable the learners to experience something of childhood, something of parenthood and something of joining and becoming part of a group as well as something of being a facilitator.

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The course that we offer was devised by Joan King, as the mothers’ Union’s millennium project and as someone who has been on lots of facilitation training I truly can say it is excellent.  It might seem that the down side for the participants is that as an accredited course they have to return home to reflect on their experiences and put them down on paper however this does mean that they don’t loose what they have gained whist on the course.

I have been reading over their comments on the experience and they truly reflect what a lovely weekend we all had together:” Thank you very much for this weekend I’ve enjoyed it”. “Nice time & informative”.  “I learnt a great deal by sharing informally but I think even more will be recognised over the coming days/ weeks as I go back through the course and my own notes”. “It was good just to take time to focus on family from a personal perspective”. “Getting to know a group you felt more able to continue to help each other. I found it really helpful.” “Warm and almost too much food. Wonderful setting”.  Being on the training is all absorbing and whilst it is good to be home again I am really looking forward to the follow up day next month and to eventually hearing that groups of parents have been enriched because of this course.

It was such a happy time being in the company of a group that is really wanting to do this work; they were very focussed and interested in learning.  Mothers’ Union have a net work of such people who are available to facilitate parents’ groups and I am very fortunate in my role to know something of the good work they are doing. I am always delighted when others contact me who would like to join them so we do what we can to make the training accessible this means not all the training courses are residential or at the weekend and the venues change as the course moves around the country.  

I know I am fortunate as Programmes Manager to be able to offer some back ground support to the very beneficial front line volunteer work being carried out by Mothers’ union Members.

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Highlights from the Parenting Programme’s recent International Training

3 Dec

What have we been doing in Guyana the last 2 weeks, I hear you say? Well, we were there to train existing parenting group facilitators to become coordinators (first week) and train existing facilitators and coordinators to become trainers of facilitators. Perhaps that’s not too clear! The WPP has grown so much in various countries around the world. In 9 countries in particular, it became apparent that facilitators alone were not able to keep up with the growing demand of the parenting programme as it expanded and the time was right to train some people to help steer and manage the programme. Several years ago, the Central Mothers’ Union started to plan this international training. It would bring people from each of these countries and build the skills and capacity of key individuals who would then go back to coordinate the programme and see out the growth/expansion of parenting groups to communities with both new and existing facilitators. It was decided to do this internationally, and away from the UK as mentioned in my last post.

So once all 18 participants had arrived (all with their luggage – in the end!) the training began with lots of icebreakers and energisers to help form a strong group bond. We spent the first day looking at the basics; what is the WPP? Who is it for? How does it work? We then moved on to look at the role of a facilitator, how to coordinate and encourage facilitators (and the different roles of coordination) before moving on to look at how to train new facilitators in the second week. This represents a significant step up in what we expect from trainers  – they have to live and breathe being a good facilitator in order to set a good example to the new people they will train up. We had many distinguished ladies in attendance – from Provincial and Diocesan Presidents, to wives of Archbishops, provincial coordinators and seasoned parenting facilitator ‘veterans’ – what was so positive though, was that for the duration of the training it didn’t matter what ‘hat’ any of us wore in normal everyday life; we were all united in our purpose there in Guyana, working side-by-side as equals to learn more skills through which to better serve our communities. What a blessing!

By the end of the second week, having spent 7 long days inside the conference room, and a day travelling all the way down to New Amsterdam to visit a successful Guyanese parenting group (as well as attend an official graduation ceremony) everybody was understandably… exhausted. But the energy and enthusiasm that remained was amazing and everyone had well-formed action plans of how to drive the programme forward in their country. 2014 looks set to be a very exciting (and busy) year for us all as we strive to reach more parents, and take the parenting programme to new heights around the world. 

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the training:

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The group poses for a photograph with their certificates after graduation. From Left to Right, top row: Thelma Foote; coordinator for Jamaica, Salome Leipa; Regional Trainer for Africa, Flavia Vergara; trainer for Argentina, Mercedes Tarragona; trainer for Argentina, Esther Gooden; coordinator for Jamaica, Evelyn Smithen; coordinator for North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba, Merle Bailey; coordinator for the Windward Islands, Phyllis Raghunanan; coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago, Elizabeth Sealy; coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago, Celia Dodds; trainer for Canada, June Morgan; Diocesan President for Mothers’ Union in Guyana. Seated: Simone Paul; trainer for Guyana, Rt Rev Cornell Moss, Diocesan Bishop of Guyana, Lena Edmonsen; trainer for Guyana and  Kathleen Snow; trainer for Canada. Missing from the graduation were Mary Vunagi and Edith Koete; coordinators for Melanesia and Rhoda Wabukala and Sophia Mwaniki, coordinators for Kenya – unfortunately their flights had had to be scheduled before the graduation took place. 

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Meet Shermiza; recently trained as a facilitator in Guyana under a partnership with the UNFPA and Mothers’ Union. She teaches Islamic studies and is just about to graduate her first parenting group within a muslim community. Shermiza is a great example of what a parenting group facilitator should and can be, and she was received very well by our international trainees. As the MU Chaplain from Trinidad – Rev. Nolly Clarke – recently preached, ‘the ministry of the Mothers’ Union is not just here within the Church, it is out there, out in our communities’.

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Keeping energy levels up with songs and exercises…

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celebrating Universal Day of the Child at St Sidwell’s Anglican church in Georgetown, Guyana

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Fun energisers with our sisters from Melanesia

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Enjoying a final night together as one big group…

 

-Hannah.